1. Rex Grossman, Rex Grossman, Rex Grossman...what's the big deal? Listen, Rex Grossman isn't some quarterback you spend a lot of time critiquing and analyzing. He is a drug you inject on Sundays and ride out. Sometimes it is good and sometimes it freaks you out. It is a hell of a rush either way. As long as we are awaiting the next Chosen One's arrival, I say we keep trotting out the Human Needle and mainlining the unpredictability.
2. I'll gladly wait another two weeks for Brandon Banks to break one. We could have used it in Dallas, but I will take it against the Eagles. I think that one of his best chances may have come on the kick he bobbled against the Rams.
3. Not only have we avoided the injury bug well, we have gotten back players who started the season hurt. Twelve weeks is a long stretch of games to endure after the bye. But my 10-6 preseason prediction was predicated on them collecting the bulk of their wins in a stretch coming out of this early bye. (And no...I did not have the Eagles game down as a W.)
4. I know the whole idea of using a second quarterback as a change-of-pace player for "special packages" (like the Wildcat) offends a lot of fans who believe that the starting quarterback shouldn't be pulled out of the game. Further, with most teams going with just two quarterbacks, having two different styles of quarterback could be problematic. But what if we somehow win enough games to put ourselves in the bottom half of the first round next season and become that team that is in position to take a chance on--or reach for--an athletic quarterback? This is the debate I found myself in recently and my take was: Sounds like a luxury pick. We are years away from affording such things. If Luck is the guy and the pick is for sale, I'm probably just asking whomever owns the pick to tell me what it will cost and then gladly pay it. If we find ourselves deep in the first round, we will be out of range of the elite quarterbacks in the draft anyway, so we might as well pay for the best.
5. All offseason we talked about how Lorenzo Alexander was going to crack the starting defensive lineup and beast out. Then we resigned Rocky McIntosh and Ryan Kerrigan turned out to be a rock star. But I'll tell you what--Lorenzo is beasting out on special teams.
6. I am worried that Kevin Barnes showed some things on film the last week or two that will cause defensive coordinators to target the crap out of him.
7. How can we not talk incessantly about Ryan Kerrigan? I would much rather talk about his impact than the play of our quarterback. He has made big plays that have determined games. When you watch him work, he fights hard until the whistle. Is it time to start thinking about the possibility of having two 10+ sack guys on the same team for an extended period of time? I think on Monday Night Football they said that Freeney and Mathis have done it four times. Over/Under on how many years it takes Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan to tie that?
8. If your team sucks, the bye offers a brief respite from the weekly kick to the loins you endure from September to December. If your team is 3-1 going into the bye and many experts didn't even have you winning three games all season...you're doing all the kicking my friend. Don't count on a lot of--or any--attention this week to the burgundy and gold from the national media. They have no idea what to do with the Redskins. Have you noticed this yet? When the topic of what Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen and JIM HASLETT are doing in D.C. comes up, you would swear it was as if someone pantsed the media. It is not just the three wins (after all, it is just three wins.) It is the manner in which this team has taken the field for four straight weeks. It is like we know what we are doing and are coming damn close on a weekly basis to executing a legit gameplan. It is the way everything is pointing to an overriding, long-term strategy. And the talking heads are literally speechless. To be fair, they are wasting all their wonder and awe on the Detroit Lions...and rightfully so.
9. I would like to hear from some of the older readers--those who recall the teams from the 80's under Joe Gibbs. I was just a wee lad, but I remember those teams being impossible not to love. Let's not compare this team to those in an X's and O's fashion. Talk about how this team makes you feel relative to those Super Bowl teams. Is it just me or is the current iteration beginning to challenge those old teams in terms of lovability?
10. Okay...so last week I said that if we beat the Rams, we were legitimate contenders. At 3-1, with two wins against teams that won't challenge for the Super Bowl any time soon, we are a long way from laying claim to a playoff spot. But I will stick with what I said, with one caveat: we are legit contenders right now. Things change fast in the NFL. Teams that look good in the first quarter of the season sputter to the finish line every year. Teams that can't get out of their own way in September find themselves at or near the top of the heap by year's end. We all know that injuries are the biggest factor in this equation. And in the NFL, there are always injuries. Even if a team stays healthy, it faces the prospect of "getting figured out." Coordinators don't get paid millions of dollars to model Reebok apparel on the sidelines. For example, if your offense runs bootlegs all day, you will start to see a healthy of dose of corner blitzes from the edge (the Rams sprinkled a few of those in on Sunday with success.) Yes, we can claim to be a playoff contender today. But all that matters is that we are a playoff contender in December. And unfortunately, the reality is that the former does not guarantee the latter. Eat, drink, and be merry...for tomorrow we play the Jets and Patriots back-to-back.